Tim Bowen showcases his hidden talents as he explains the hidden meanings in this batch of collocations.

With the meaning of ‘not easy to find, see or know about’, hidden can be used to refer to something valuable or good, such as gem, talent or treasure, as in ‘The small town, perched on a hill at the entrance to the valley, is a hidden gem hardly noticed by the thousands of tourists visiting the more well-known sights in the area’ or ‘A country that was robbed of passion and creativity for decades has started to discover its hidden talents’. 

Costs, charges and extras can also be hidden, as in ‘The holiday seemed cheap at first but there were lots of hidden extras and we ended up spending a small fortune’. 

People may also have a hidden agenda or hidden motives, as in ‘The government has been accused of having a hidden agenda in introducing legislation to require phone companies to keep records of all calls made by their customers’. There can also be a hidden meaning or hidden messages in visual items such as films, television programmes and advertisements and in examples of the written word, as in ‘Despite the recent controversy in the press, the film’s director has publicly denied that there is any hidden meaning in his latest offering’. 

Dangers can also be hidden, as can flaws and menaces, as in ‘Open water may look very attractive and inviting, but underneath can often lurk hidden dangers, such as strong currents, and youngsters need to be made aware of the potential problems of swimming in rivers’ or ‘Poorly maintained roads are a hidden menace for Britain’s drivers’.